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   FASHION

HANDBAGS and women are one; they’re like indivisible twins. Women can hardly do without handbags especially the trendy ones which are cute fashion accessories for them. No lady’s dressing is wholly complete till there’s a handbag on her because handbags add glamour to her appearance.

A woman’s handbag can be her signature piece and statement or simply a carrier of documents or other belongings. Just as various clothes are worn for different occasions, bags are also sternly selected to suit different occasions.

While some other women carry handbags for fashion purposes, some other women carry handbags because of its ability to contain some items. These reasons have been grouped into practical reasons and impractical/fashion reasons.

Practicality

Handbags come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. And for a typical woman, the space can be really useful.


Typically, handbags have multiple pockets inside of them - some with zippers, and others as open sleeves. As you can see in the photo above, this handbag has at least two inner pockets with zippers. These are very useful for things that need to be secured like documents, credit cards and cash. I use the inner pockets of my handbags for smaller items too, like mints, lip balm, credit card, keys and cash.


In the larger inside pockets, I may keep my phone, ear piece and phone charger. I’ve seen women with larger bags carrying around a spare pair of shoes, a two-inch thick novel, water or food flask, notepad, baby diapers, etc. It’s surprisingly crazy how many things a handbag can accommodate.


Fashion

Scores of women carry handbags because they are stylish and convey a sense of fashion. They simply want to flow with the trend and most times aren’t interested in its many inner pockets or sizes. The trendy handbags these days are those small purse-like bags.


I personally do not like carrying handbags, I find it stressful and self scourging. I rather go out with a purse or put on a trouser or skirt with pockets where I can keep cash. I grew up without really making budgets for handbags; I easily just take my mum’s for lecturers. Lots of other ladies could go to the store and spend 50,000 and above on just handbags.

I don’t think handbags are bad I just think they’re extra loads. Only recently because of work did I pick up the rare habit of carrying handbags (practical reason) and the purse-like bags for outings (impractical reason).

Why do you carry a handbag?

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That she has opened the 22nd global store for her branded shoe, Bethlehem Alemu has shown that African businesses can flourish across the world.


Alemu is the founder of soleRebels, a shoe company considered one of the world’s fastest-growing businesses.  Her story is one of resilience and determination


Born in 1980 in one of the poorest sections of Addis Ababa, Alemu learnt early on of the absence of an Ethiopian brand in the pool of companies that wanted to empower Ethiopians in the country.


“I was born here in Ethiopia and I grew up here so I saw the state of people — the way they lived and the way they worked, and I felt if I had a company (it) should pay a certain amount of money so the employees can take care of themselves and their families,”


She founded soleRebels to provide solid community-based jobs. Before this, she was an accountant at one of the private companies in Addis.  She came up with a plan and took $5,000 of her own money to set up a workshop.


Why shoes?  According to Alemu:


We selected shoes because we saw that footwear was an excellent platform to begin to share many of the indigenous eco-sensible craft heritages and artisan talents that we have here in Ethiopia with the world! It also meant that based on the approach we were taking to footwear creation – that being handcrafted and eco-sensible – that we could source and make almost ALL our materials locally, thereby creating an export product from 100% local inputs.


The company recreated and re-imagined the “selate” and “barbasco” leather-soled shoes, whose history can be traced way back to the Battle of Adwa, which saw soldiers wearing these shoes fight off Italians, and beyond.


It would take her two years to create a suitable prototype; previous prototypes weight six kilograms.


“The shoes were really heavy, as I didn’t know how to cut the tire. They looked really funny. I kept trying and trying to develop the perfect product,” she said to Forbes.


What makes soleRebels stand out from the rest is its ethical nature as well as the combination of old recycling tradition and modern Ethiopian designs that have made it a hit for all, including vegans.


From a company that started at the backyard of Alemu’s grandmother in Zenebework, soleRebels has grown to hire at least 100 employees and created at least 1200 jobs.


With the new store opened in Hamburg to add to the others in Silicon Valley, Athens, Barcelona and in Taiwan, Alemu is not stopping any time soon. She wants to have 500 stores globally and a revenue of $1 billion by 2028.


Alemu has also expanded her portfolio by venturing into other businesses: The Republic of Leather, a bespoke leather company and Garden of Coffee which she intends to dig into the coffee culture of Ethiopia.


These companies, for Alemu, show that Ethiopians and Africans can control their narrative and shape their image without depending on external forces interested in displaying the continent as needy and desolate.


Alemu has earned accolades and awards across the globe, including our very own FACE List Award for entrepreneurship in 2014. She has also been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; listed as one of the most powerful women in the world by various organizations, and awarded a Ph.D. (Hons) in commerce from Ethiopia’s Jimma University.

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Your office/company's party is coming up and you don't know what to shop for or you already shopped ahead and is confused as to what to wear?

It's quite simple; don't wear what you wouldn't wear to your mother in-laws home to your office or company's party. You might want to dress to show off your flawless fashion style or maybe you're simply dressing to impress yourself. Before gong out to shop for an outfit for your office party, here are few things you shouldn't tick off your list.


Sky-high heels

Walking in those sky-high stripper heels is a talent, but it's a talent that your boss doesn't need to know about. A pair of glitzy heels is nice for your holiday party, but they don't need to be too high.



Skin-tight dress

Make sure that your dress isn't too tight or too short. When trying on clothes, bend, stretch, reach, turn, sit and stand, looking at yourself in the mirror from all angles. You don't want to expose too much or have a wardrobe malfunction at your office party.


Sheer top

Sheer garments are trendy right now, but they shouldn't be worn on inappropriate occasions. If you like the sheer look, find a top that features just sheer sleeves rather than an overall sheer bodice.


Christmas sweater

Your grandma gave you a reindeer sweater last year, but that doesn't mean you should wear your festive knits to your company Christmas party (or anywhere else). Christmas sweaters should be reserved for children or in a more informal setting, along with antler headbands and any other over-the-top holiday accessories.


Boring suit

A holiday party is the time you want to loosen up a little bit. If you wear a navy suit to the office every week, it shouldn't be your go-to outfit for the party too. Instead, buy a cute cocktail dress with a little glitz. You don't want to wear sequins from head to toe, but there's nothing wrong with some shine.



Sneakers

Even if your company Christmas party is being held at a casual restaurant, resist the urge to put on your sneakers. Pick out a cute pair of ballet flats instead -- they even work with jeans.


Too much makeup

A little extra eyeliner, a bold red lip or some shimmering shadow is perfect for your office party. Just don't overdo your makeup. Too much makeup looks cheap and tacky, no matter where you are.


Too much jewelry

Like makeup, too much jewelry can look tacky. When it comes to accessorizing, less is more. Pick out one statement piece and flaunt it, keeping the rest of your jewelry non-existent or very understated.


Plunging necklines

Though you want to dress a little more sexy than your standard business suit, an office party isn't the place for low-cut dresses and tops. Show off your serious cleavage at a night club, not in front of your boss and co-workers.